Ann Arbor Review
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
is an independent
International Journal & ezine
Copyright (c) 2016
AAR history note: in print 1967 - 1980. Irregular publications 1980 - 2004. As ezine 2004 - present. Most of 47 years all together....
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They lower me into the earth. The look on my face says, Yes…I’m ready.
Voices surround my final breathing with distinct shadows like the ones waterstriders cast to the magnified bottom of this shallow creek.
When I reach out to touch these voices, their mouths, dripping from such drenched piles of leaves, swallow me up.
Not so long ago, they were the tops of oaks the wind used to brush the lips of stars apart and then spoke without saying a word.
Time gathered me up then, revealing the secret of my existence as one that wasn’t supposed to exist, not here or anywhere else.
And only by accident did obliging conditions eventually make me all the more oblivious in the context of my pretentious intelligence.
The way mirror images nullify everything created before there was a me.
When I could have been a single calorie burned up in a comet’s tail but instead ended up strung alongside those loose fitting lightbulbs clotheslining the perimeter of a traveling circus at showtime.
ALWAYS ANOTHER ROAD
Once lost, we knew we’d never find our way back. Over time, even our names refused to speak to us or reveal who we or anyone else was.
Unamused, a few of us died homesick.
Others fled yet ended up struggling to find the right space into which they might slip their lives and go on as before as if nothing had happened.
Those of us who remained were unrolled by high winds from the open graves slung over the necks and stooped shoulders of the ongoing dead.
We were afraid to understand.
We stood in wide open fields entranced by golden swarms of giant mayflies playing a frenzied shell game in the sun’s setting column of light as it rose up the side of an oak tree, with no understanding why.
None at all, until the tips of the oak’s topmost leaves about to be stained an orange glow brightened our faces so much that, even though we’d lost our way, we could still see where we were going.
Hiking along split rock creek today, the ground underfoot’s still soft and wet with deep grasses and loose stone. Heavy rains have made it so.
I follow a washed-out deer path along a ridge high above the creek to a descending set of three step waterfalls.
Under sprigs of faded blue five-petaled wildflowers, I’m distracted by a bumblebee rummaging among loose clumps of dry leaves for moisture.
Rainwater cupped in a large curled leaf swims with blackened seed hulls, rusty pine needles and yellow floating pollen specks.
Hugged by the mud’s suction, a moss covered log dotted with tiny bright orange mushroom spores endures it own weight.
Lost in the waterfall’s voices, songs unseen birds further down the side of this mountain have forgotten how to sing remain unheard.
A bubble floating downstream makes me wonder how I survived myself.
REST OF THE DAY
Intoxicated by a wild white rose’s aroma as much as I am by its soft pink beginning, I stumble across an unsteady dock’s splintered boards and their nail-headed eyes rusted shut.
I’ve come to watch swallows line their dry shore grass nests with fluffy willow seeds skimmed off the ripples my wobbly reflection’s left behind.
Waves wash their full lips ashore, kissing again and again last night’s beached and storm battered sailboat torn loose from its worn mooring.
Up to my neck in this lake, sustained winds at the backs of those dark oak leaves above me shake acorns down to the water’s shale edge.
Water so hard only stone can contain it spills from my hands.
Slugs crawl along a slow darkness.
Cliffs hang from their roots.
Paul B. Roth, Fayetteville, New York
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